The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman.
Select Board members present: Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Thomas Hooker, Vice Chair, Jane Cornell, W. Joseph Gagnon, and David Trombley. Also present: Mike Warfle, Mary Lou Moradi, Rula Moradi, Tom Browe, Bev Browe, Chuck Greeno, Chip Greeno, Mike Blaisdell, Tom Shannon, Bill Hemple, Bob Foley, Butch Shaw, Gwynn Zakov, Chad Eugair, Jim Rademacher, Peg Flory, Chuck Charbonneau, Alicia Malay, Craig Ferriera, Ted Gillen, Shawn Erickson, John Haverstock, Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.
J. Haverstock stated that there was a need for Executive Session for legal (Burditt Fund); Personnel (Emergency Management Coordinator, Town Report Dedication Honorees). Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to enter into Executive Session to discuss legal and personnel. Motion passed unanimously 5– 0.
J. Haverstock stated that there was a request to amend the agenda to remove the Homestead Penalty Abatement item and to remove the sidewalk discussion. Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to adopt the agenda as amended. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
The Select Board minutes from the November 15, 2017 meeting were signed, with no corrections.
The orders in the amount $168,119.04 and $18,434.75 (Payroll) were approved with the following discussion:
J. Gagnon inquired about the expense for the “fire truck inspection/bra”. T. Hooker explained that this was for an inspection and brakes on the ladder truck.
TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT
- J. Haverstock reported on the following:There will be a Staff Meeting on December 14 at 9:00 AM and the members of the Select Board are invited to attend
- There will be a Staff Potluck Luncheon on December 21 at Noon – the Select Board members are also invited to attend this event
- The Zoning Board of Adjustment conducted a public hearing on Dollar General on November 27, which was recessed until January 22 at 7:00 PM.
- The attorneys for the Town and the school district have recorded the deeds for the Caverly and School land swap transaction.
- The VOSHA inspection on July 18 resulted in no concern at the Municipal Office, Highway Garage or the Sewer Department. However, there were two citations issued at the Water Department totaling $2,400. The Town Manager will be travelling to Montpelier to meet with VOSHA representatives to discuss lowering the citation amounts.
- Thank you to the Nickwackett Hose Company for inviting the Town Manager to its quarterly meeting and dinner.
- The Fire Department will be hosting a Stuff-A-Bus food drive at Kamuda’s on December 8 and 9.
- The Municipal Office has only 40% of its electrical needs met by the existing generator during power outages. The Town Manager will be researching the cost of a larger generator. The existing generator can be utilized at the Highway garage as theirs is in need of replacement.
- The stump grinding contractor will be in Town in January.
- Jim Rademacher has presented his letter of resignation from the Trustees of Public Funds, effective January 1, 2018.
- Peg Flory has presented her letter of resignation from the Board of Civil Authority and the Rutland Regional Transportation Council due to her recent move to Rutland.
Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to accept the letters of resignation with deep regret. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
None presented at this time.
Old Hubbardton Road:
T. Pelkey read a timeline of the history of this project and stated that the meetings were televised on PEG TV, orders and meeting minutes were signed by Select Board members. Shawn Erickson approached the Select Board on May 4, 2016 to use material from other projects; the first load of material was delivered to the area on September 17, 2016; an order reflecting the purchase of stone/gravel were signed on October 10, 2016 with Selectman Trombley informed that some of the material was from Old Hubbarton Road; Chip Sumner objected to the project on November 2, 2016 and later withdrew this objection; the Town Manager informed the Select Board that the project was suspended on December 7, 2016 for the winter months; the Town’s highway mileage was reviewed on January 18, 2017 and the Town Manager mentioned reclassifying the Old Hubbardton Road from a Class 4 to a Class 3 road; Joe Gagnon remarked about this plan to upgrade this stretch of Old Hubbarton Road to a Class 3 road at Town Meeting in March of 2017; e-mails were sent on May 26 regarding the legal process of reclassifying to a Class 3 road; following the completion of the project, Rula Moradi met with the Town Manager and T. Pelkey on July 13 and July 17 before the statutorily-required road re-classification site visit and this was the first complaint that was received; the public hearing was held on July 19. The Select Board ultimately approved every purchase of approximately $11,000 of stone/gravel. The Highway Department did not exceed its overall stone/gravel budget for the year and no other projects suffered. D. Trombley could have objected during the year that the project was under way but failed to do so. There was no conspiracy between the Town Manager and the Select Board and it appears that there was a personal vendetta against the Town Manager and the Highway Foreman.
D. Trombley stated that when Shawn Erickson first approached the Select Board about the project, he explained that the material would come from a culvert project, and he did not remember any further discussion. T. Pelkey explained that there were 6 signed orders and 6 signed sets of minutes with Old Hubbardton Road specifically mentioned. D. Trombley stated that he feels that the Town Manager led the Select Board astray and dropped the ball on observing the project. D. Trombley stated that he will continue his quest to remove the Town Manager.
Mr. Moradi stated that he was at the May 2016 meeting and did not object to the project and had heard nothing more about the project until he was approached by Mr. Sumner who stated that he talked to the Town Manager who stated that he should talk to his neighbors. The neighbors were told that the road would be opened up for safety reasons. Mr. Moradi stated that they are taxpayers of the Town and feel that what should have not happened has happened. Mrs. Moradi stated that they were never notified of the project and feels that her safety is on the line and not protected. She stated that Shawn Erickson told the neighbors that the project was done to control water. Mrs. Moradi stated that there are tire marks in the area of her garden and she does not feel safe in the garden and is insulted by the lack of concern by the Select Board. T. Pelkey stated that the Select Board is concerned for the safety of the neighborhood, Town crew, and emergency vehicles.
J. Haverstock stated that he is tired of being a piñata for D. Trombley and Mr. Trombley signed the orders and the minutes, reflecting the work being done on the road.
D. Trombley stated that he signed the orders however, he did not review the items. T. Pelkey explained that that is his responsibility.
J. Gagnon stated that he feels bad that the residents are unhappy, however, they could have called any of the Select Board members at any time that the project was under way and he had no calls, no complaints. The phone calls should have started at the delivery of the first load.
Mr. Moradi stated that the road widened 5’ in spots over the winter and the goal was to not open the road. Mr. Moradi inquired if the road had previously been abandoned. Shawn Erickson stated that the road is included on the highway map. J. Gagnon stated that the abandoning of a road carries the same process as reclassification.
Tom Browe expressed his disgust and explained that the neighbors were told that the holes were being filled for safe passage of the highway vehicles.
Mr. Browe, Mrs. Browe, Mr. Moradi and Mrs. Moradi exited at 8:20 PM.
Consider Request to Renew Permit to Sell Fireworks:
J. Haverstock explained that the Select Board held a Public Hearing on December 4 to hear the public input on the sale of fireworks in Town. Chuck and Chip Greeno have met with the Fire Chief and Police Chief to discuss ways to minimize problems associated with sales within Town.
Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by T. Hooker to approve the permit for two years with the stipulations that the neighbors are notified of the intent; the show is complete by 10:00 PM; the Fire Chief, Police Chief and Town Clerk sign off on the permit at least 15 days prior to the event and the Fire Chief inspects the area. Following discussion, the motion was amended to issue a permit for one year. D. Trombley stated that he is not in favor of issuing a new permit as he feels the Town should not be involved and that the danger is overwhelming.
T. Hooker stated that the first year was OK and the second year showed a multitude of fireworks-related problems and it is unknown where the problem fireworks are being purchased.
Chuck Greeno stated that he agrees with the need for new rules. Chief Hemple stated that he will issue more permits, however, more residents need to be willing to obey the rules. There is an issue that there are purchases being made elsewhere and set off in Pittsford.
J. Gagnon stated that he welcomes business and appreciates that the Greenos are making an effort to do it right.
Chief Hemple stated that he will not just issue a permit and will be inspecting the proposed area. J. Cornell inquired if the new rules would make the issue better. Chief Warfle stated that he is willing to give it a one year trial and report back to the Select Board.
Motion passed 4 – 1 (Trombley opposed).
Chip Greeno thanked the Select Board for its time.
Presentation of Second Draft of Town Budgets:
J. Haverstock read a memo with regard to the second draft of Town budgets. The current budgets, as presented, would require a 4.9% tax increase for the General Fund and an 11% increase for the Highway Fund. There are modest wage increases included, there is also an increase in employee insurance due to adding an employee and spouse. There are also worker’s compensation and health insurance increases.
D. Trombley would like to put Highway projects out to bid whenever extra equipment is needed.
There was a discussion of the future West Creek Road and Omya approach projects and how to fund them.
Presentation of Fire Department Budget:
Chief Hemple presented the Select Board with a proposed budget and stated that the only increases were of items that they have no control over and discussed the future replacement of the airpacks, that are being researched. J .Haverstock stated that the Department’s proposed budget features a $10,000 increase in the Truck Replacement Fund. Chief Hemple stated that the Fire Department will be purchasing new pagers with funds that were raised through the annual Haunted House event.
Approve List of Fire Department Officers:
Chief: William Hemple; Assistantt Chief: Tom Shannon; Captain: Todd Hemple; Captain: Shawn Hendee; Lieutenant: Darren Laughlin; Lieutenant: Craig Bowman. Motion by T. Hooker and seconded by J. Cornell to approve as presented. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
Presentation of Maclure Library Budget Proposal:
T. Pelkey recused himself as Selectman to present the Maclure Library’s budget proposal. T. Pelkey presented the Select Board with information about repair projects that were necessary since 2004. There was discussion that the building repairs need to be completed by professionals that specialize in historic buildings to retain grant fund eligibility.
Motion by J. Cornell and seconded by D. Trombley to add $10,000 to the Library appropriation. Motion passed 3-1-1. (Gagnon opposed; Pelkey abstained)
Presentation of Pittsford First Response Budget:
Bob Foley was present to discuss the Pittsford First Response budget. J. Haverstock explained that the request is increasing from $20,000 to $25,000. Mr. Foley explained that the building is in need of a lot of repairs, including repairing the stairs from the second floor, fixing the windows and siding the building. The Select Board accepted a copy of the operating budget for review and will include the request in the budget.
State Legislative Preview:
Representative Shaw and Senator Flory were present to discuss Legislative priorities, which include level funding with only a cost of inflation increase of about 2%; clean up the State waters (lakes, rivers and streams) increasing the minimum wage; debating a carbon tax; debating paid family leave; the legalization of marijuana; truck drivers GPS units; fireworks; and Senator Flory noted that Brandon‘s upgrade of Route 7’s Segment 6 is Brandon is in progress. Segments 3 – 4 – 1 in Pittsford are scheduled to commence following segment 6, however, the order is not determined and Segment 2 likely won’t occur for 15 years or so.
Rep. Shaw stated that the Governor has signed a contract with First Net for emergency responders statewide. There is also a concern that the education tax will increase in the neighborhood of 9.4%.
Review Proposal for Pittsford to Become Full-Member of BLSG Mosquito District and Allow Application of Mosquito Adultacide in Town:
J. Haverstock explained that there was a memo included in the packet with the specifics on funds necessary to become part of the BLSG Mosquito District and allowing application of mosquito adultacide in Town. After this past summer, many residents have recommended a more aggressive approach to mosquitoes. The “buy in”, cost regarding the District’s assets are $69,250 (or $17,750 per year for 4 years), as well as $2,477 for the Town’s share of inventory.
J. Gagnon stated that the State should be supporting the Town. Rep. Shaw stated that the State pays for the larvacide applications for the area, however, there is no funding for the adultacide in the State.
The Select Board members chose to leave this decision to the voters at Town Meeting.
T. Pelkey made a motion and seconded by T. Hooker to go into Executive Session for personnel and legal where premature knowledge would be damaging to the Town, and may be jeopardized by public disclosure.
In accordance with 1 VSA 312 (b), where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the Municipality or person involved at a substantial disadvantage, the Board unanimously agreed to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of legal personnel at 8:48 PM. Town Manager Haverstock and Jim Rademacher were invited to remain for Executive Session.; Rep Shaw entered Executive Session at 8:53 PM. Mr. Rademacher and Rep Shaw exited Executive Session at 9:31 PM.
The Select Board exited Executive Session at 9:36 PM, with no action taken.
The meeting adjourned at 9:36 PM.
The next regular meeting of the Select Board will be held on December 20, 2017.
Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman
Thomas Hooker, Vice Chairman
Jane Cornell, Selectman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
David Trombley, Selectman